Future Sight: Looking at Khador lists of the Future

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of Khador’s competitive lists. Mark 3 is almost a year old and the meta is shifting. Between new releases, SR2017 and people trying out less obviously powerful pieces (looking at you Ghost Fleet) we are seeing more and more lists that are breaking the initial wisdom that big battle-groups are the answer. My prediction is that the current trend of troop swarms is going to continue and bring something like a balance to the international meta. With that in mind, I wanted to have a look at some lists I think are going to be powerful in the coming year. A quick disclaimer: A lot of this is based around models and theme lists making it out of CID without changing too much.

To start, a list of some of the things I think we’re going to be seeing more of:

  1. Battle Engines: The Battle engine CID was long and very interesting and has produced some good results in raising the power level of the various battle engines in the game. Expect to see them in multiple lists, as most of them now are actually performing very well compared to Beasts/Jacks.
  2. Troop Swarms: SR2017 seems to be favouring attrition play, and with the zones spreading out much further, I think we will be seeing a lot more in the way of units and solos that can take up more real estate on the board.
  3. Innate Pathfinder: SR2017 also is introducing much more in the way of terrain, with boards generally looking denser and being harder to move around. This makes abilities like Pathfinder, flight, incorporeal, etc more useful. Based on this we will likely end up seeing the squishier troops (as the scout esque designs are the ones that tend to have pathfinder) or casters that have ways of handing out pathfinder.

On to lists!

List 1: Old Witch 2 (Jaws of the Wolf)

 

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+26]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Kodiak [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [10]
– Rager [11]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (max) [5]

I played quite a bit of Old Witch 2 during the CID and was very impressed with her. She is, IMO, uncontested in Khador for her ability to run a big Battle-group well. Jaws is a natural home for her, as the Forge seers give her some flexibility with her focus. She also brings a new trick to Khadors arsenal. She can have a jack survive on 1 box, repair it back up to full functionality and then fully fuel it as well. This is a trick that other factions can do (Ret, every horde faction) but has been missing from Khador for a while. Additionally, Re-construct is a big deal in Khador, bringing what is effectively Admonition into faction. It takes effort to 1 round a Khador heavy, usually requiring buffs or more than 1 heavy. Being able to increase the amount of resources required to take down a jack is just kind of mean in some match ups.

In addition, she runs marshalled jacks better than any other caster in Khador. Between all her de-buffs you can have Behemoth shooting at an effective POW 18 that is Blessed and Magical. Top that off with her general survivability (made better by the addition of the Rager to fend off pesky Eyriss shots or just to tank a defender shot), her de-buffs and Windstorm delivering our jacks to the mid table without getting too dinged up by guns, and Old Witch 2 is looking like our best Jack caster to date.

List 2: Sorscha (Winter Guard Kommand)

 

(Sorscha 1) Kommander Sorscha [+29]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Marauder [10]
– Rager [11]
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich [4]
Winter Guard Infantry (max) [10]
– Winter Guard Infantry Officer & Standard [0(4)]
– Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (max) [13]
– Winter Guard Rocketeer (2) [4]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage (CID) [17]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage (CID) [17]

The Battle engine CID was exciting, in that it has re-vamped a bunch of models that no-one was taking. Couple this with a caster who has Boundless Charge and fixes the Gun Carriages crappy RAT, we’re onto a winner. The Gun Carriages in this list are acting as jamming models, while also providing a gun platform that can dig really deep to remove key pieces, one that isn’t as constrained by terrain pieces due to it’s speed and innate Pathfinder. It is also hard as balls to kill, requiring a concerted effort to remove.

Sorscha 1 on the other hand, is still awesome. She plainly got better between mark 2 and 3, receiving a point of armour, weapon master vs stationary, a cost drop on her signature spell Freezing Grasp and a major boost from the changes to the focus mechanic. The reason she hasn’t been seen on the table for Mark 3 has been a meta one, not anything innately wrong with her. That being said, if the predicted infantry meta materialises then she will likely shoot right back into the competitive scene. Between some hard control element of infantry models, (I can remember a game in mk2 where she was surrounded by Bane thralls and perfectly safe, as she kept freezing them), the fact she is still running 5 models at armour 20 and 30 plus boxes, and the gunline elements brought by Winter guard, she should do well.

List 3: Theoretical Man-O-War Theme list

This one hasn’t even been announced as far as benefits are concerned, but the Man-O-War theme has been announced, and will likely give free points on man-O-War stuff. Am predicting Man-O-War solos and units, along with mecaniks to be included. Regardless of what the other benefits (am predicting some buff for the jacks involved and +2 inches of Deploy personally, but will see) this could be a really strong theme. Man-O-War Shocktroopers are currently 16 points, with a 4 point UA and a 5 point solo, slotting nicely into the usual free point levels for infantry, and are a really solid choice at the moment, only over shadowed by the themes currently out.

A full army of Man-O-War, backed by several cheap jacks (say 60 points of shocktroopers, which is 3 full units with UA, netting you 3 free solos coupled with 40 odd points of Jacks) could be a very intimidating advancing line of dudes to deal with. If that materialises, expect to see the likes of Strakhov 2, Kozlov (I said it!), Irusk 1 or 2 and Vlad 2 at the helm. All of them synergise well with heavy infantry, with a little left over for their jacks. Could be the next armour skew.

 

 

All in all, the next year of releases is going to be fascinating in shaking up the meta. The reveal of structures, the amount of additions that Ret and Cygnar have had along with the revisions going through CID point to a very vibrant and diverse meta, and I’m looking forward to seeing what puts an axe through it best.

Advertisements

Welsh Masters: Round 7

Going into the final round of the tournament I have 5 wins and 1 loss. Am aiming for 6 wins, so the final round has me nervous. In addition, Round 6 had me finishing late thanks to the epic grind that was Toby Nathans Madrak 3 list, so I was rushed getting my lunch. I end up near the top table paired against Toby Jennings, who was kind enough to let me finish eating before we started clocks. He was running COC with Lucant and Iron Mother, both in theme (unsurprising) and both without TEPs (very surprising). After looking over his lists, I prefer Strakhov over butcher, despite a heavy amount of auto wound causing stuff in the mother list. I drop Strakhov, he drops Mother (as I feared), and off we go. Scenario was Extraction. List below:

Convergence Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Destruction Initiative

(Directrix 1) Iron Mother Directrix [+27]
– Assimilator [16]
– Assimilator [16]
– Corollary [6]
– Diffuser [6]
– Mitigator [7]
– Prime Axiom [38]
Attunement Servitors [0(4)]
Elimination Servitors [3]
Elimination Servitors [3]
Elimination Servitors [3]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Optifex Directive [4]

Predeployment:

I win the roll off and spend a good amount of time agonising over the choice to go first or second. He has a lot of shit that can just murder pikemen. I eventually settle on second and pick the side of the table with more walls. Also a hill to my right and a big forest in the centre, with a big wall running along the centre of the table. I deploy in standard formation, with strak and the jacks behind the forest and the centre pikemen offset to the side of the forest.

He deploys the axiom off centre to the left and the heavies on the other side, with the diffuser on the right and the mitigator on the left. Mother is central.

Round 1: Fight!

He runs everything forward as fast as he can, getting the reflex servitors dug in just in front of his lines. So far so normal.

I spend a good 5 minutes still agonising about what to do. In the end, I put quicken on the centre pikemen, who advance moved, and Feat, charging strakhov forward into the forest and giving him stealth, camping 3. The centre pikemen then minifeat and run to engage as much as possible, getting all the servitors, the heavies, the lights on the right and the axiom tied up, while also being in shield wall and under feat. The officer and the flag are central behind the wall. Everything else runs up as afast as possible, with markov joining the centre pikemen behind the wall, the right flank mini feating and moving up and the left flank just running. I think he has more to deal with.

Round 2:

My opponent is somewhat flabbergasted, he didn’t think I’d get up that far so fast, and is not sure what to do. He spends the turn trying to clear stuff out of melee, with mostly gunfighers, but the def 14 manages to save a number of pikemen. 1 heroic pikeman who is engaging one of the Assimilators tanks something in the range of 10 attacks, with reflex servitors missing, or him toughing and not being knocked down. He ends up having to back off his assimilator to take a free strike, which promptly crits and knocks it down, spiking damage as well. My opponent is on full tilt at this point, and ends the turn having killed most of the centre pikemen, and a couple from the right unit.

My turn and less has died than I thought it would. The remaining centre pikemen get Last Stand and the left hand unit get quicken, which ends up killing a bunch of servitors, the Mitigator, hurting the axiom (the great bears go in on it) and crippling both heavies. Markov and the left hand pikemen hang back as another wave.

Round 3:

Toby continues trying to clear off his gunline and kill pikemen, finally finishing off the centre unit and gutting the right hand unit.

My turn and the great bears kill tobys objective, Markov goes and controls the left hand flag. Last standed pikemen from the reserve unit manage to put down the Axiom and the 2 heavies get cut down to 1 heavy.

Round 4:

Toby knows the game is over and spends the turn trying to score points, which he does. He both agree that I’ll get to 5 trivially and the game ends there, with the score 5-3.

Victory for the Motherland!

Post Game thoughts:

Toby is a great player, he ended up getting best in COC in the end. He played as well as he could under the circumstances, but this game was a great example of how you can play a list into bad odds by adjusting your strategy. The pikemen running turn 1, combined with feat meant that Toby struggled to clear them. Because of that, the rest of the force got delivered almost untouched and just swept up his gun-line. Strakhov continues to impress with just how hard his feat makes pikemen. This was a list that could specifically kill a lot of pikemen, and I managed to pull it out between tough rolls and quicken.

In the end I finished 7th over all, which is my second best result at a tournament, and best in Khador. A fantastic result that I am very pleased with. Next stop. The ETC!

 

Welsh Round 6

Am finally out of Cryx infested waters, and into the high seas of Trollbloods. Am paired against Toby Nathan, a fantastic Troll player who is running Madrak 3 and Doomie 3. Since there is no way I’m dropping Butcher 3 into doomie (because implacability), I drop Strakhov. He drops Madrak, and off we go. Scenario was take and hold. List below:

Trollbloods Army – 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Band of Heroes

(Madrak 3) Madrak, Great Chieftain [+29]
– Pyre Troll [9]
– Troll Bouncer [9]
– Troll Impaler [11]
Fell Caller Hero [0(5)]
Fennblade Kithkar [4]
Fennblade Kithkar [4]
Stone Scribe Chronicler [4]
Trollkin Champion Hero [0(5)]
Trollkin Champions (min) [10]
Trollkin Champions (max) [17]
– Skaldi Bonehammer [5]
Trollkin Fennblades (max) [15]
– Fennblade Officer and Drummer [5]
Trollkin Warders (min) [10]

Pre-deployment:

I win the roll off and choose to go first. Terrain is pretty unimportant, rubble in the centre of my side of the board, a wall to the right of his flag. I deploy in standard formation, with strakhov behind the rubble. He deploys with his fennblades spread across his line, champions central, warders with madrak, solos in the centre and the kithkars on either flank.

Round 1: Fight!

I run everything forward, central unit getting inviolable, right hand unit getting quicken.

My opponent does much the same, running everything as far forward as possible and feating.

Round 2:

So I have a wall of trolls in my face, and 2 choices. Back off or dive head first into the meat grinder. I decide to dive in, as it will allow me to dictate some positioning. The turn gets messy quickly as 1 fennblade keeps toughing and moves in to jam 1 of my units. I manage to cut down most of the fennblades in the end as well as a champion. Not a huge amount dies but I get most of the front rank off the table, spending my mini-feats to get into shield wall. Strakhov feats, covering as much as possible and gets within walking distance of the flag.

My opponent is now faced with much the same dilemma as me, and on the vengeance move, procs a counter charge from the kovnik. He goes through his turn killing bits and pieces, bouncing off armour in most cases. He fails to kill markov, after setting up a charge for his champions on him, he moves the fennblade CA within 6 inches and gets countercharged, with Markov ending up outside of most of the charges. He eats a champion to the face and survives. The great bears also make some counter charges, killing a champion and some fennblades. By the end of the turn, I’ve lost most of my centre unit, some on the left and none on the right. He scores the flag and goes to 1

Round 3:

I continue stabbing trolls to death, killing most of the champions, the rest of the fennblades, both kithkars, the fell caller and the chronicler. I contest the flag with some pikemen, and get strakhov on the flag. Score is 1 all.

My opponent manages to clean up most of the pikemen, kill the great bears and markov. He ends his turn having cleared the flag and scores another 1, contesting my flag with the pyre troll.

Round 4

The game is rapidly going down to time, so I have to start playing fast. I run the devastator into contest the flag and also block off the warders and bouncer that are poised to approach my flag. Torch kills the pyre troll and sprints to also block off the warders. The remaining pikemen charge and damage the impaler. Strakhov and co shoot some things and remain on the flag.

My opponent is almost out of time, but also in a position to possibly win the game next turn. He runs madrak off the flag, positioning him to clear my flag out next turn, while blocking in my jacks with the warders. As he is running his remaining fennblades in to threaten as well, he runs out of time, with me scoring 1 more time to make the score 3-2.

Victory for the motherland!

Post game thoughts:

Trolls are hard to kill. I think I made the right decision on list drop. Butcher does better into this list because of silence of death, but Doomie is a concern. The decision to commit turn 2 was correct as well I think, good use of counter charge made things hard on my opponent and armour 23 when you can’t charge is hard to break even for weapon masters. Anyway, onto round 7!

Welsh Masters Round 5

Round 5 sees me paired against, you guessed it, Cryx. And once again no ghost fleet. He ducks, he dodges, he doesn’t play Ghost Fleet! My opponent is one Joe Sutton, and he has a Venethrax list with all the jacks, and a Denny 3 list with 2 units of soul hunters, among other things. I drop Strakhov (due to a jack spam on one side and a lack of corrosion or really good infantry clearing in the lists), and he drops Denny. Scenario is Incursion. List below:

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Infernal Machines

(Deneghra 3) Deneghra, the Soul Weaver [+27]
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Reaper [13]
– Stalker [8]
Necrotech [2]
Necrotech [2]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Mechanithralls (min) [6]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
Soulhunters (max) [18]
Soulhunters (max) [18]

Pre-deployment:

I win the roll and decide to go first. There is a big forest on my left and right flank, with a house of centre to the left of the centre flag as well as some other terrain that wasn’t super important. Usual deployment of left, right and centre pikemen, with the solos and Great Bears in the centre. Strakhov and Torch to the right of the centre unit and the devastator to the left. My opponent sets his jacks up centrally, with soul hunters on either flank and Denny behind the house. The mechanithralls ambush.

Round 1: Fight!

I run everything as far forward as it will go, not particularly caring if they get within Pistol wraith range, as I am guessing at this point that they are there to contest, not to shoot things. Inviolable and quicken get put out, on the central and right hand units respectively.

My opponent spreads his force out, staying outside of 13 inches of my pikemen. He moves his stalker over to the right flank, to try and set up for moves towards my caster. The pistol wraiths run to contest the flags.

Round 2:

I upkeep everything and shield wall everything forward, taking ground as far forward as possible, leaving a couple of guys in charge range of things to try and bait my opponent. The left hand pikemen move to threaten the left flag. Strakhov moves up and attempts to lock the target on one of the pistol wraiths, but misses.

My opponent continues spreading out his force, with the stalker practically sat on the right table edge. Denny continues moving to the left flank, and he puts death jack on the flag. He attempts to put his arc node in between Deathjack and the pikemen, but forgets counter charge. 2 of the great bears charge and kill the arc node with 2 attacks. The left hand cavalry are now spread out along the whole left table edge. My opponent scores 1

Round 3:

This is feat turn, in more than one way. I upkeep everything, and start off with the left hand pikemen charging Death jack. They kill him with their attacks and minifeat to control the flag. The great bears run up behind to cover their front with the countercharge bubble. Markov positions centrally and the pikemen in the centre shield wall forward. Strakhov takes another pot shot at a Pistol Wraith and misses again, before feating and positioning centrally to cover as much as possible. The pikemen on the right charge and kill the Stalker, mini-feating back into shield wall. I score 1.

My opponent spends the turn prepping for the next turn, killing some pikemen on the right flank and moving up to threaten the centre of the board. The soul hunters position somewhat. The mechanithralls ambush on and are sent to contest. Denehgra positions along the left table edge, out of threat of Last standed pikemen. She also feats for more focus next turn.

Round 4:

I spend the turn mopping up what I can reach. Killing all of the soul hunters in the centre of the table (between torch, the right hand pikemen and the Kovnik), strakhov finally kills a pistol wraith (in melee) and repositions onto the central flag. On the left flank the great bears charge through the screen of pikemen, killing most of the mechanithralls and a brute thrall. The Markov moves up to extend the tactician bubble, and the pikemen charge through the great bears, killing all but 3 of the soul hunters and all the remaining thralls. The great bears are positioned so that they score the flag. In the centre, the pikemen unit there finally break shield wall and, with the help of quicken, charge over a wall to kill the reaper. I score 2 and go to 3.

My opponent has lost a lot of stuff, and spends the turn killing the great bears and the pikemen on the left. He scores the flag at the end of his turn, and runs his remaining pistol wraith to contest the centre flag.

Round 5:

Denny is currently in threat range of Strakhov, so he gets the hell out of dodge, running to the right hand flag and re positioning my horde of pikemen between me and the other side of the board. I score 1 and go to 4.

My opponent charges his soulhunters into my lines, killing a few pikemen. Denny moves up and ends up killing Markov with her gun and a scourge, before repositioning back to the left hand flag. The pistol wraith contests.

Round 6:

Strakhov kills the pistol wraith and repos back to the flag. The devastator contests the left flag and the game ends 5-3 in Khadors favour.

Victory for the motherland!

Post game thoughts:

Pikemen are hard bastards to kill. I don’t think I lost any on the feat turn. They also kill cryx jacks just fine without last stand. I think the most crucial moments here were me winning the initial roll and my opponent just giving me death jack. He could have been an issue during my feat. As can be seen in the pictures (which if they aren’t here will be added soon), going first was pretty big as I got to control the centre of the board and project force out from there. I was a bit worried about the terrain at first, and moved up as far as possible to get to the gaps between forest and building. If I had been more conservative, it would have been difficult to properly threaten the left flank. Just goes to show that being aggressive with positioning can really force your opponent onto the back foot and give you a big lead in tempo. Onto round 6!